Played by NCG: BudersandNovember 30, 2018 Courses and Travel
Nestled on the tip of the tiny German island of Sylt is the spectacular Budersand Golf Club. Alex Perry made the epic journey to play this 10-year-old links
Reason for a Budersand Golf Club review
I was in nearby Denmark to visit the Ecco headquarters.
Where is Budersand Golf Club?
Well, I say “nearby” Denmark because, as the crow flies, it’s only a few miles. But my word what a journey. From Tonder, it is a one-hour drive to Romo, a tiny Danish island in the North Sea. From there, it is a 45-minute ferry to the German island of Sylt, and another half an hour drive to the course.
Sylt is Germany’s version of The Hamptons, if you will, and its long beaches, resorts and, of course, upmarket golf courses, are frequented by affluent holidaymakers. It is accessible by two modes of transport: the aforementioned ferry, and railway shuttle on which you drive on and drive off.
The tip of the island that now houses Budersand Golf Club was previously a military base – Sylt was one of the first parts of Germany attacked during World War II – before, just after the turn of the century, local architect Rolf-Stephan Hansen decided to transform it into what it is today: A spectacular golf course complete with five-star hotel.
What to expect
As if getting to and from Budersand wasn’t enough of an experience, the golf course is like nothing I’ve ever played.
I grew up playing links golf and it’s my favourite form of the game. But I’ve never been a huge fan of “modern links”. Somewhere like Trump International in Aberdeen, for example, as glorious as it is, it just doesn’t do it for me as a links course.
So, in this sense, I was somewhat concerned by the prospect of playing a links course barely a decade old. I needn’t have been. Budersand could slot anywhere in between the UK’s finest stretches of links courses and not look out of place. A truly spectacular experience.
There are so many to choose from, particularly on the back nine where this golf course really starts to sink its teeth in.
The 12th and 13th, both in the photo above, deserve special mention. The 12th is one of several dogleg holes at Budersand, turns almost 90 degrees and is a wonderful risk-and-reward par 4, while the 13th is a magnificent downhill par 3 into a green carved into steep dunes.
But my favourite hole was another par 3 which comes two holes later at the 15th.
It’s only 110 yards from the tips, but the tee shot plays toward the ocean with mainland Germany on the horizon, and to a green that sweeps from front to back and right to left with sand traps ready to gobble anything short.
A true test of your short game in the most spectacular of settings, as you can see in the photo below.
My best bit
Playing into a howling wind off the sea, my drive at 12 hadn’t gone as far as I would have liked. With a little more than 200 yards left to a green that I couldn’t see, I decided to go for it – a real suck it and see effort.
Given there is no room for error around the green, as you can see, I was relieved to see it on the dance floor. That relief turned into delight when I drained the putt for my only birdie of the day.
What to look out for
There are plenty of little nods to classic British links courses at Budersand, including it’s very own Barry Burn dissecting the 17th fairway.
It’s almost impossible to imagine that this course was designed by a man taking on his first project.
When I go back
Will I go back? It really feels like one of those once-in-a-lifetime type trips. If I did, I would spend a couple of days on the island of Sylt – in warmer months, of course.